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how to make money with a pickup truck

The keys to your pickup truck may be your key to making more money.

High gas prices are causing consumers to swap for smaller vehicles. More and more, the average person doesn’t have a vehicle that can move items of substantial size and weight.

Independent contractors can make money with a truck. We’ll give you 16 services you can provide, and 6 of the best Apps on how to make money with your vehicle so you can get started with this side hustle.

Here’s the conclusion – if you have your own pickup truck, you can make money hauling stuff.

16 Ways to Make Money with a Truck, or with a Pickup Truck and Trailer

Not all pickup trucks are good work trucks and equally suited to certain tasks. For example, they come in sizes by vehicle weight, engine size, and bed length.

Size Matters

ways to make money with a pickup truck

For example, a half-ton truck may have a small, six-cylinder engine of about 3.0 size. Or a half-ton pickup truck may have an eight-cylinder engine of 5.0 size or larger. Engine size dictates how much a vehicle can tow (trailer weight plus load).

Compared to a half-ton pickup truck, a one-ton pickup truck has a more beefed-up chassis. A one-ton would be able to handle a load of gravel or mulch; a half-ton may be challenged by too heavy a load. There are box trucks, which are enclosed with tall cargo areas.

Trailers By Type

Trailers are specific to the task. There are landscape-style trailers with low sides in various lengths. There are enclosed trailers (also called cargo trailers) which are completely enclosed. And there are dump trailers, open to the elements.

Your requirements are that you are a truck owner with a valid driver’s license and vehicle insurance. If you’re going to use a truck and trailer, you’ll need a tow hitch, wiring to provide lights to the trailer, and electric brakes (to haul anything that weighs more than 3,000 pounds.

As an independent contractor, you can set your own hours. How much extra cash you earn depends on how much time you can devote to this as a small business – a few hours or 24-hour service. Check with your insurance company before you begin to make money with your truck.

1. Delivery Services for Food

Don’t think small on this one. If you’re thinking of food services delivering individual meals, you’ll have plenty of competition from Uber and similar App users, which regularly deliver food. The food delivery services you want to do are less about meals, and more about food supplies.

Restaurants need to deliver meals, true. But they also need to receive supplies, and not just food staples. They need take-out cartons, bulk supplies such as sugar and flour, cleaning materials and office supplies.

If a local restaurant is getting supplies delivered by tractor trailer, they are paying high fees on freight charges. Reach out to local restaurants with an informational flyer describing the delivery service you can provide with your truck, or with your truck and trailer.

For this type of work, your truck should be equipment with a cap that is watertight against the elements. If you plan to deliver supplies that need refrigeration, your best bet is a refrigerated box truck or van.

2. Delivery Service for Landscaping Business and Construction Supplies

To cover a yard area with mulch, gravel or paving stones, the average homeowner would have to make numerous trips with a small vehicle. They would also have to buy individual bags of mulch or gravel, which is much more expensive to buy that way.

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The cheapest way to buy mulch or gravel is “by the scoop.” A scoop is typically a bucket load of a small tractor or skid steer. A scoop can be loaded into a truck with an open bed, or onto an open trailer. A dump trailer – although more expensive than a regular trailer – makes this type of delivery much easier. If you’re using your truck bed, check your owner’s manual to see how much weight your truck can haul that way.

With an open truck bed or trailer, you’ll need a tarp to cover the load. If you’re using an open bed truck, first lay down a tarp that covers the floor and extends up the sides. After you shovel some of the material out of the truck bed, you may be able to get the rest out by pulling out the bottom tarp.

In other words, make money while saving up for that dump trailer. In addition to providing this type of service for homeowners, you may be able to partner with large and small businesses that offer landscaping services to make deliveries to the jobsite.

With a large enough trailer, you can also deliver yard features such as sheds, gazebos, stock tanks and molder plastic pond liners, as needed by homeowners and/or landscaping companies.

3. Deliveries for Local Businesses

ways to make money with a pickup truck

The last thing a busy owners of construction companies want to do is pick up construction material. Truck owners can really capitalize on this need.

Keep in mind, though, that a minimum length involved in most lumber orders is 8 feet, such as for 2 x 4s and plywood. Some construction materials, such as drywall or bags of cement, must be kept dry – during pickup and delivery and at the job site.

That’s why using an enclosed trailer for construction materials is a great option. It’s not a truck, so you can drop it off loaded at the job site. The contractor can work out of your trailer as needed.

You can pick up a used 12-foot enclosed trailer for about $1500, but for construction site deliveries you may want to go to a 16-foot model with dual axles. There are many ways to get flat tires at construction sites. The dual axles give you two tires on each side. With a single axle, a flat tire is a disaster.

Also, add load stabilizers to your trailer – similar to what’s used on towable campers. When the trailer is not hooked to a vehicle, and someone walks into the back, the person’s weight can pop up the front of the trailer.

Here are a few ideas about local companies that pickup truck owners can target with other hauling services to deliver packages and other items, or offer shipping services:

  • Pharmacies
  • Florists
  • Auto Parts and Tire Distributors
  • Furniture stores
  • Community yard sales (pass out your business cards)

4.Deliveries Made by Towing

This is not the same as becoming a towing company, with a specialized truck to haul disabled or damaged vehicles. This is using your truck to tow other

You can make good money using your pickup truck as a towing service to haul items such as boats and rv’s. Make sure you check your tow weight capacity.

Towable RVs need to be inspected annually. That’s a big chunk of time out of the owner’s day. You can take the RV to the dealership or inspection garage, and pick it up when it’s finished. You can also move RVs from one dealer location to another, as part of your towing services.

Take your business information to area rv dealers.

5.Junk Removal Business and Moving Services

Junk removal services are needed by home owners and also by a special local business – the real estate company. Residential and commercial properties are much more likely to sell when junk – old couches, metal desks, etc. – has been removed.

To make money with your truck this way – by affiliation with a real estate company – you’ll need to be bonded. That may cost about $1,000 a year. That protect the real estate company against any damages you cause to the property that’s for sale. Typically, there is one agent who handles cleanouts of foreclosure properties, and you’ll have to bid against other junk removal companies.

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You can take appliances and other metal items to a scrap metal dealer, and earn extra cash.

Many people who are moving do as much as they can using their personal vehicles. But there’s always a need for a moving service for the large items such as mattresses and furniture. If you have an enclosed trailer, you can offer to drop it off at the residence, where the customer can fill it as time allows.

6.Snow Plowing Services

ways to make money with a pickup truck, snowpolow

It is tough to compete against snow plow companies with huge fleets, but you can provide snow plow services as a subcontractor for those companies.

A large truck with a plow may not fit into all the places that need to be cleaned of snow. Some snow plows are 8 feet wide. You can find a niche within those companies with smaller medium duty trucks and a six-foot plow.

Snow plowing is hard on a truck’s front end, due to the weight of the plow and the wear and tear on brakes and wheel bearings. You’ll also need special wiring to operate the plow controls, up, down and angle.

For a small truck you may take a look at what’s called a “homeowner” plow, which is made of tough molder plastic. They are much lighter and can attach to a truck via a receiver hitch (which is mounted on the front of the truck). Hook up is simple. But most homeowner plows do not have electronic controls. You may have to manually change the plow angle as needed.

Factor in the cost of gas money. Check with your insurance provider to see if you need to upgrade your coverage.

7. Mobile Billboard Advertising

Offer your pick-up truck as a moving billboard for local businesses. You can partner with advertising agencies or directly with businesses to display their banners or wraps on your truck. This method can generate income based on the size of the ad and the areas you cover. It’s a passive way to earn money while you drive around for other tasks.

8. Event Logistics and Support

Your truck can be used for transporting equipment and supplies for events like weddings, concerts, or local fairs. This includes setting up tents, chairs, stages, and other event necessities. You may need to work weekends or evenings, but these events often pay well for reliable and timely service.

9. Rental to Film and Production Companies

Production companies often need vehicles for shoots, especially for rural or outdoor scenes. Offer your pick-up truck for rent to film, television, and photography production companies. This can be particularly lucrative if you’re located near areas where filming is common.

10. Agricultural Support Services

If you’re in a rural area, offer your services to local farms. This can include transporting produce to markets, delivering farming supplies, or even helping with the movement of small livestock. Building a good relationship with the local farming community can provide consistent work, especially during harvest seasons.

11. Yard Waste and Recycling Services

Offer to haul yard waste or recyclables for homeowners who don’t have the means to do it themselves. This service can be particularly in demand during spring cleanups or after major storms. You can charge per job or set up a regular service for loyal customers.

12. Mobile Car Wash and Detailing Service

Transform your truck into a mobile car wash and detailing service. You can travel to your client’s location to provide services, which is convenient for them and profitable for you. Invest in portable washing and detailing equipment, and offer various packages based on the services provided.

13. Seasonal Decoration Services

Provide services for putting up and taking down holiday decorations. This includes lights, lawn ornaments, and other seasonal displays. Homeowners and businesses alike might be interested in this service, especially those who lack the time or ability to do it themselves.

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14. Pet Transport Services

Offer a pet transport service, especially for larger animals that might not fit in a standard car. This can include trips to the vet, grooming appointments, or even longer journeys. Ensure you have the necessary equipment to transport pets safely and comfortably.

15. Local Tour Services

If you live in an area with tourist attractions, consider offering guided tours. Equip your truck with comfortable seating and provide informative, personalized tours around local landmarks, scenic routes, or historical sites. This can be especially popular in natural or rural tourist areas.

16. Courier and Expedited Shipping Services

Offer courier and expedited shipping services for urgent deliveries. This can include important documents, time-sensitive packages, or last-minute deliveries that larger courier companies might not be able to accommodate quickly.

Apps for How to Make Money with a Pickup Truck

Here’s where it gets very cool. Once you download one of the six Apps we suggest, you’ll be connected with a peer to peer network. People who need delivery or shipping service are connected with truck drivers. You can set your own prices.

ways to make money with a pickup truck

Here are all the details you’ll need to know about the best Apps to choose:

Platform Overview Requirements & Features Considerations
Amazon Flex An app-based platform that allows you to deliver packages for Amazon. – Truck bed must be covered to protect items.
– Busy side hustle opportunity.
Must ensure items remain dry during delivery.
GoShare App platform focused on helping people move large items, like furniture and appliances. – Ideal for “odd jobs” or one-time needs.
– GigSmart is a similar platform to consider.
Often, these are not recurrent tasks but rather one-time needs.
Door Dash, Postmates, etc. Delivery platforms connecting consumers ordering from stores/warehouses to delivery drivers. – Pickup and delivery of various items for customers. Reliability and speed are essential to maintain customer satisfaction.
Uber and Lyft Primarily known for transporting people but also used for food deliveries. – Requires a four-door vehicle.
– Popular and widely recognized platforms.
While primarily for passenger transport, having a truck can be beneficial for larger groups or items. Ensure vehicle meets all platform standards.
LoadUP Focuses on junk removal, connecting you with people needing old items removed. – Junk removal tasks.
– Opportunities to remove sellable or usable items
– Exclusive coverage within your zip code when you sign up.
While primarily for junk, there might be opportunities to salvage or repurpose items.
Turbo A platform where you can rent out your truck to those in need. – Rent your vehicle to users
– Passive income as you earn without actively working.
Requires special insurance. It’s crucial to vet users and possibly do background checks to mitigate risks of damage or misuse of your vehicle.

Costs Associated with a Pickup Truck Business

ways to make money with a pickup truck, costs, pickup truck business

Initial and Recurring Vehicle Costs

  • Truck Purchase: The initial cost of buying the truck, which can vary depending on whether it’s new, used, or leased.
  • Depreciation: Over time, the value of your truck will decrease, especially with heavy use.
  • Maintenance: Regular upkeep is crucial for the longevity and safety of your vehicle. This includes:
    • Oil Changes: Necessary for the smooth operation of the vehicle.
    • Tires: Depending on usage, tires may need to be replaced periodically.
    • Inspection: Regular inspections ensure the vehicle adheres to safety and emission standards.
    • Repairs: From minor fixes to major overhauls, unexpected repairs can emerge at any time.

Equipment Costs

  • Gloves: Essential for safe handling of goods and protection against cuts or abrasions.
  • Wheeled Dollies: Useful for moving heavy items without physical strain.
  • Steel-Toed Boots: Provides foot protection, especially when handling heavy objects.
  • Straps and Ropes: For securing items during transport.
  • Blankets/Pads: To protect delicate items from scratches or dents.

Insurance Costs

  • Vehicle Insurance: A must-have for any vehicle, covering potential damages to your truck in case of accidents.
  • Liability Insurance: Protects against claims resulting from injuries and damages to other people or property.
  • Cargo Insurance: Covers damages to the goods you’re transporting.
  • Specialized Business Insurance: Depending on the nature of your services, you might need more specific insurance coverage. It’s always a good idea to:
    • Consult with an Insurance Agent: Speak to your insurance carrier about the specifics of your business to ensure you have the right coverage.

How Much Money Can You Make with a Pickup Truck?

Making money with a truck is an open-ended proposition. You’ll make your own schedule, delivering food supplies, mulch, couches and/or refrigeratiors – your choice. How much extra money you make depends on your time availability, and whether it’s a full-time job or a side hustle.

For routine delivery jobs, you can expect to earn from $15 to $20 per hour for small items such as packages. For the bigger stuff, you can expect to earn about $40 an hour.

Image: Depositphotos

This article, “How to Make Money with a Pickup Truck” was first published on Small Business Trends

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